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Joyful Mysteries for Advent and Christmas with Benedict XVI

Updated: Dec 28, 2020


Inspired by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's beautiful homilies, audiences and writings I curated this set of Joyful Mysteries to pray during Advent and Christmastide. Occasionally, I've made small changes for clarity and ease of use. For example, when Benedict XVI says "And so it was that she became the dwelling place of the Lord..." I have changed "she" to "Mary" so that it can stand alone as a meditation for you. For a list of sources per each reflection refer to the index following the meditations.



The Annunciation

Virtue: Awaiting the Fulfillment of God's Promises

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.

- Luke 1:31


Our Father...


1. Mary, with a tremendous act of faith and obedience, said "yes": "I am the servant of the Lord". Hail Mary...


2. And so it was that Mary became the "dwelling place" of the Lord, a true "temple" in the world and a "door" through which the Lord entered upon the earth. Hail Mary...


3. The Virgin Mary has a special place in the journey of Advent as the One who in a unique way, awaited the fulfillment of God's promises. Hail Mary...


4. Mary welcomed Jesus the Son of God, in faith and in the flesh, and with full obedience to the divine will. Hail Mary...


5. Mary is the creature who opened the door to her Creator in a special way, placing herself in his hands without reserve. Hail Mary...


6. Mary lived entirely from and in her relationship with the Lord. Hail Mary...


7. Mary was disposed to listen, alert to recognizing the signs of God in the journey of his people. Hail Mary...


8. Mary trusted implicitly in the word that the messenger of God announced to her, and became the model and Mother of all believers. Hail Mary...


9. The more we open ourselves to God, welcome the gift of faith and put our whole trust in him like Mary — the more capable he will make us...of living every situation of life in peace...Hail Mary...


10. May Mary Most Holy, the faithful Virgin, guide us to make this Advent and the whole liturgical year a path of genuine sanctification, to the praise and glory of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hail Mary...



The Visitation

Virtue: Rejoicing in God Our Savior

For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leapt for joy. - Luke 1:44


Our Father...


1. Mary went to see her elderly cousin Elizabeth…carrying in her womb the recently conceived Jesus. Hail Mary...


2. When she entered Elizabeth‘s house her greeting was overflowing with grace; John leapt in his mother’s womb. Hail Mary...


3. The children exulted; the mothers exulted. Hail Mary...


4. This meeting, imbued with the joy of the Holy spirit, is expressed in the Canticle of the Magnificat. Hail Mary...


5. Mary said "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." Hail Mary...


6. Mary who communicates joy, trust and kindness also invites us to spread joy. Hail Mary...


7. We cannot keep solely for ourselves this joy that we have received; joy must always be shared. Hail Mary...


8. This is the real commitment of Advent: to bring joy to others. Hail Mary...


9. Let us seek in particular to communicate the deepest joy: thought of knowing God in Christ. Hail Mary...


10. Let us pray that this presence of God’s liberating joy will shine out in our lives. Hail Mary...




The Nativity

Virtue: Seeing God in the Face of Jesus

To you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is Christ the Lord. - Luke 2:11


Our Father...


1. In Jesus of Nazareth God really visited his people, he visited humanity in a manner that surpassed every expectation: he sent his Only-Begotten Son: God himself became man. Hail Mary...


2. God can be seen, God has shown his face, he is visible in Jesus Christ. Hail Mary...


3. Rejoice...the true God exists, and this true God is good, he loves us, he knows us, he is with us, with us even to the point that he took on flesh! Hail Mary...


4. The Creator who holds all things in his hands, on whom we all depend, made himself small and in need of human love. Hail Mary...


5. God became a child and put himself in the state of complete dependence typical of a newborn child. Hail Mary...


6. God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him. Hail Mary...


7. The glory of the true God becomes visible when the eyes of our hearts are opened before the stable of Bethlehem. Hail Mary...


8. When we see him, the God who became a child, our hearts are opened. Hail Mary...


9. The true mystery of Christmas is the inner brightness radiating from this child. Hail Mary...


10. May that inner brightness spread to us, and kindle in our hearts the flame of God‘s goodness; may all of us, by our love, bring light to the world! Hail Mary...




The Presentation

Virtue: Carrying the Light into the World

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. - Luke 2:22


Our Father...


1. Mary and Joseph, in accordance with Mosaic law, took the tiny Jesus to the temple of Jerusalem to offer him to the Lord (Lk 2: 22). Hail Mary...


2. Bringing her Son to Jerusalem, the Virgin Mother offered him to God as a true Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Hail Mary...


3. Simeon and Anna, inspired by God, recognized the Child as the long-awaited Messiah. Hail Mary...


4. Mary held Jesus out to Simeon and Anna as the proclamation of redemption. Hail Mary...


5. Mary presented her Son to all as a light for a safe journey on the path of truth and love. Hail Mary...


6. The words that came to the lips of the elderly Simeon: "My eyes have seen your salvation" (Lk 2: 30), echoed in the heart of the prophetess Anna. Hail Mary...


7. These good and devout people, enveloped in Christ's light, were able to see in the Child Jesus "the consolation of Israel" (Lk 2: 25). Hail Mary...


8. So it was that their expectation was transformed into a light that illuminates history. Hail Mary...


9. As we light candles in churches...and the Christmas trees in our homes, may our souls be open to the true spiritual light brought to all people of good will. Hail Mary...


10. Dear brothers and sisters, like lighted candles, always and everywhere shine with the love of Christ, Light of the world. Hail Mary...



The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Virtue: Being in Relationship with the Father

After three days spent looking for him his parents found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions...When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety. - Luke 2:46, 48


Our Father...


1. Jesus asks “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Hail Mary...


2. Jesus’ answer to the question of why he had done this to his father and mother was that he had only done what the Son should do, that is, to be with his Father. Hail Mary...


3. Jesus had stayed where the Son ought to be, that is, with the Father, and he stressed who his Father was. Hail Mary...


4. The word “Father” is the key to the Mystery of Christ...and also the key to our mystery as Christians who are sons and daughters in the Son. Hail Mary...


5. From Jesus himself, from his filial relationship with God, we can learn what “father” really means and what is the true nature of the Father who is in heaven. Hail Mary...


6. Christianity is not a religion of fear but of trust and of love for the Father who loves us. Hail Mary...


7. God is not remote from us...Hail Mary...


8. God is close to us, so close that he makes himself a child. Hail Mary...


9. From the moment of Jesus’ birth, God truly is “God with us". Hail Mary...


10. Let us learn to savor in our prayers the beauty of being...able to call on him with the trust that a child has for the parents who love him. Hail Mary...


Concluding Prayer


For Advent

Let us pray. Come Holy Spirit...

Let us live these last days before Christmas intensely, together with Mary, the version of silence and listening. May she who was totally enveloped by the light of the Holy Spirit help us to understand and live to the full the mystery of Christ’s Nativity…and keep alive the inner wonder in fervent expectation of a celebration of the Savior's birth. - Benedict XVI


For Christmastide

Let us pray. Come Holy Spirit...

Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, come to us! Enter within me, within my soul. Transform me. Renew me. Change me, change us all from stone and wood into living people, in whom your love is made present and the world is transformed. Amen. - Benedict XVI


Artwork Credit

Beautiful art by Bradi Barth is used with permission and is featured in our exclusive Rosary Flash Cards. Coming soon!


Index of Benedict XVI's writings

The Annunciation

1. Nov 26, 2005

2. Ibid

3. Dec 19 2012

4. Ibid

5. Ibid

6. Ibid

7. Ibid

8. Ibid

9. Ibid

10.Nov 6, 2005


The Visitation

1. May 31, 2005

2. Ibid

3. Ibid

4. Ibid

5. Luke 1:46-47

6. Dec 18, 2005

7. Ibid

8. Ibid

9. Ibid

10.Ibid


The Nativity

1. Jan 16, 2013

2. Ibid

3. Dec 18, 2005

4. Dec 24, 2008

5. Ibid

6. Dec 24, 2006

7. Dec 24, 2008

8. Ibid

9. Dec 24, 2005

10.Ibid


The Presentation

1. Feb 2, 2006

2. Ibid

3. Ibid

4. Ibid

5. Ibid

6. Ibid

7. Ibid

8. Ibid

9.Dec 21, 2005

10.Feb 2, 2006


The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

1. Jesus of Nazareth

2. Ibid

3. Ibid

4. Ibid

5. May 23, 2012

6. Ibid

7. Dec 18, 2005

8. Ibid

9. Dec 24 2009

10. May 23, 2012


Concluding Prayers

For Advent: December 21, 2005

For Christmastide: December 24, 2009


Use these reflections in the same way that you would pray with On a Mission to Love.

  • Make the Sign of the Cross

  • Announce the mystery to be prayed and its corresponding virtue

  • Pray the Our Father

  • Read the first reflection statement

  • Pray the Hail Mary

  • Repeat this process ten times until each reflection statement has been read

  • Pray the Fatima Prayer

  • Pray the Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina)

  • Make the Sign of the Cross


For additional information on how to pray the rosary you make go to the USCCB's website.


Debbie Staresinic is a Catholic speaker and author, and is the founder of On a Mission to Love and @tobrosary She is a graduate of the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia. Debbie is a wife, mother and grandmother. To learn more about On a Mission to Love and to purchase her books and Catholic gifts you may go here. Follow Debbie on Instagram and Facebook.







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